How to Choose an LPN College in Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Now that you have decided on a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it’s imperative that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school in Philadelphia PA that will furnish the proper instruction. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both carry out the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their responsibilities do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next segment. When initiating their search for schools, many future nursing students begin with those that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least costly. Even though cost and location are important factors, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other variables, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important too. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LVN or LPN training program that we will talk about later in this article. But first, let’s take a look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
LPN and LVN Job Functions
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have a number of tasks that they complete in the Philadelphia PA health care facilities where they work. As their titles imply, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Pennsylvania. Even though they may be responsible for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients in need of medical care is their dominion. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can’t perform. So based on the state, their routine work functions may include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Giving medicines
- Initiating IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Supporting physicians or RNs with procedures
Along with their job functions being governed by each state, the Philadelphia PA health facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two academic credentials available in Pennsylvania that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time period, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Philadelphia PA, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degrees
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Philadelphia PA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by Pennsylvania community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Pennsylvania colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state requirements.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Philadelphia PA area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for Pennsylvania to make certain that the training course is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some Philadelphia PA area schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school relative to Philadelphia PA as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the Philadelphia PA school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited Pennsylvania schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for nurses, both LPNs and RNs, vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Philadelphia PA school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Philadelphia PA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN schools you are considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships in the Philadelphia PA area to assist students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs in Pennsylvania require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships in the Philadelphia PA area.
Choose the Right LPN School Philadelphia 19019
Picking the right Licensed Practical Nurse degree program is perhaps the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many aspects that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become an LVN in Philadelphia PA.
Why Did You Want to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask nursing prospects is "What compelled you to select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a nurse, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to prepare some strategies about how you want to answer them. Because there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
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